Some would say that selecting a barrel of bourbon is all fun. It is a very enjoyable experience. Going to a barrel warehouse with a master distiller to thief a barrel is a true sensory experience. Even sitting with a group with samples pulled from barrels from a distillery too far away to drive, is a great way to learn about what styles each barrel represents. Not all barrel samples are a taste treat. Finding a barrel that sings is a wonderful way to pick a barrel. And thus, the challenge is finding the barrel that we feel represents our “house” style and is atypical when compared to the commercial versions selected by the master distillers.
Westport Whiskey & Wine’s “house” style relies on great aromatics, from fruit, cream, vanilla and wood spices. The flavor is rich, lush and not astringent. It may be robust and warm, but never harsh. When splashed the flavors should open-up all the more. We believe that the selections below truly represent our house style, and great values, too.
CURRENT SELECTIONS (01.18.2022)
This is a 4 1/2 yr old bourbon with a very high rye (36%) content. The aromas of toasted oak is immediately prevalent, and it gives way to a great complexity with notes of nutmeg and tobacco. It is sweet upon entry with a hint of toffee and caramel, then the earthy, tobacco element shows depth and is does not become the dominant flavor. This is very complex, full-bodied and has a long warm finish.
This barrel selection has a sweet, creamy aroma, laced with plum-like red fruit, nutmeg and a zing of orange zest. The taste is all toasted oak upfront that has a sweet undertone that carries through to nice spicy, slightly peppery finish. It lingers long and reminds you that there is something more to explore on the next taste.
Aromas of sweet mash laced with mint. The entry is sweet, vanilla forward. Nice balance of sweet and toasty oak flavors the grow in complexity as you revisit. The finish is spicy and peppery.
Part of the great fun of selecting single barrels is going to the distillery and tasting through several barrels, and discussing each of their attributes until you determine which one is going “home.” This is the high rye mashbill of 24% rye, along with the 12% malted barley, the aromas are fruity and complex. Lots of dried apricot and green herbal qualities. It has hints of green apple in the tart entry taste, before it gives way to toffee and caramel. Its finish is long, peppery, spicy and enjoyable.
Selected at the distillery in May 2021. Master Distiller John Rempy was part of the tasting panel, too. This was a most interesting and tasty selection as its aroma was nutty and fruity all at once. We thought it would be a great holiday bourbon, filled with spice and toasty, sweet cream. This will work with a cube, but I suggest that it is a neat sipper.
It is hard to believe that our first Maker’s Private Selection was in Dec 2015. This has become such a dynamic program that allows us to select combinations targeted for the season that the barrel will be released. So back in June we sat on a beautiful summer day and thought about the cool to cold weather when this would hit the store. We hope you find this to be a great complement to the season. It is vanilla laced with fruit, bacon fat, anis that it is reminiscent of a barrel house. And that is just the aroma. It enters sweet and evolves to a rich, oily, round mouthfeel. The finish is spicy and long. A couple of fingers pour by the fireplace is calling! Enjoy.
Every Stellum Single barrel is selected for the program on its own merits. They are, however, bottled and released in groups. We give each group a name to group them by moments in time, though flavor profiles vary within each selection.
Cygnus – Selections made in Winter and Spring of 2021 – 60% Corn/36% Rye/4% Barley Malt
We found this barrel to be very complex and it really opens up its secrets as you savor the taste. At first we likened its aroma to a warm bowl of porridge with a bit of brown sugar. It enters sweet and immediately rushes to the back of the palate to a woody, slightly tannic finish.
But give it swirl and another taste and you will be rewarded with a warm, lush mouthfeel with a creamy middle.
This offering was a happy surprise, when Christian Huber called. They had gotten hold of our empty barrel of our Rolling Fork Foursquare Rum single barrel and decided to age one of their ryes in it. OMG the resulting whiskey, in our opinion is wonderful. Spicy, well-balanced with a long warm finish.
Vanilla and toasted oak dominate the otherwise spicy aroma. The entry is a bit hot (119 proof), but quickly yields its heat to showcase the spicy, sweet and round flavors. It has a pleasant finish, wish it was a bit bigger.
The aroma is the first thing that grabs you. It is fruity with loads of toasted caramel. The flavors of sweet vanilla indicates that this slightly over 6 year bourbon is something special. Vanilla gives way to toasty, spicy flavor, slightly drying yet with a long warm finish.
Rolling Fork, 8yr Foursquare Rum, Finished 10 months in a Weller Barrel, Single Barrel, WW&W Selection, 103.6 proof, 750ml, $86.99
This was distilled in Barbados by the Foursquare Rum Distillery. The aroma is filled with baking spices and rum soaked raisins. It enters sweet with a rich round mouthfeel and tons of vanilla. There is a great flavor of toasted oak that elevates the fruit and spice. The finish is sweet, long with a bite of pepper. It is something to savor.